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Stage Pin-Edison+Dimmer Non Dim, Plausible?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by CSCTech, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. CSCTech

    CSCTech Member

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    I understand this may be against forum rules to reply to this thread on a how to.

    But I was wondering if there are anything on the market that is a stage pin to edison plug adaptors that are not dangerous or fire hazards. I myself know little about dimmer wiring and whatnot so if this is something that is too dangerous please let me know and will drop the idea and call someone in to install outlets.
    But if the idea is possible while being safe at the same time, I would be interested in using existing channels on one of our electrics to connect things like rope lights for decor. etc. (Clear from hot fixtures of course).
    My assumption is that a dimmer would output to much power for this to work, is that true?

    And also, if we would ever venture into moving or other intelligent lighting, we would need edison connectors so, knowing dimming power to computer/moving instruments is bad for the instrument the outlets would be non dimmable. Is this a possible thing that one could simply do on a dimmer module? Ie, 100% signal would turn the dimmer to full and 0 off and nothing inbetween.
    However this would only work if the first thing works.

    Just was thinking of a way to get around running a cable with the other slack cables running to the electric. However I understand this could be extremely dangerous and thus, am asking before doing.

    Thanks!


    EDIT-
    After posting I searched a bit more on google and found a few of what I would be looking for for sale for about $25. A Male stagepin-Female Edison. Are these safe to use with all edison connector devices?, things.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
  2. MarshallPope

    MarshallPope Active Member Premium Member

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    Any simple lights (i.e. no electronics) should be just fine connected to dimmer packs. We use practical lamps all the time this way, as well as large quantities of Christmas lights come December.
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Yep, you are fine to go. Also, making stagepin to edison adapters is rather easy and common practice.

    Any type of fixture that does something besides power an incandescent light such as a moving light/projector/whatever you should not run on a standard dimmer. There are relay packs and non-dim packs that you can use in place on standard dimmers.
  4. CSCTech

    CSCTech Member

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    Alright, that is the main idea of my, idea. Hanging christmas or other rope light and being able to light it up, or an idea for a show, hanging a household lighting fixture and having it turn on and off.

    So, getting a Male Stage Pin - Edison connector will allow the correct voltage/wattage to normal lights.

    And now for electronics I would need a non dimmed circuit yes?
    Don't suppose this is something one could do themselves?
    We have around 30 modules not wired, 4 spacers, and one dead in our i96 rack. So I was thinking, if it something possible and relativly simple to do, to make a few of the extra modules non dimmed ones and keeping the old ones for when we wouldnt wanted no dimmed ones, and be able to pick wherever we want the non dim circuit to be.

    Would be nice to see a switch on the back :D Put thats not going to happen now is it, haha.

    Anyways, I got one thing down. One to go.
    Making a dimmer non dim? Possible? Safe? Easy to do?

    Edit-
    Footer,

    Sounds great. So, a relay pack would be an external device connected to the stage pin circuit wanted and the electric device plugged into the relay and when the relay receivers a certain power it would turn on and off?
    Just guessing on that.

    And as for DIU adaptors. I would need 10A cabling and would need to connect the grounds the same and + - same? Or can + - be interchanged.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    No, a relay pack is something you have to do at the dimmer rack. It is possible to convert a few of your blown dimmers to non-dims, however you would have to have someone do that for you.

    Your best bet is to buy the adapters or have someone show you how to build an adapter. Not saying you can't do it, but you need to be shown what to do and why you are doing what you are doing.

    + and - are only used in DC circuits, on AC circuits that lighting systems used hot and neutral are used, just throwing that out there before other people get to it....
  6. CSCTech

    CSCTech Member

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    Footer,

    Oh alright. Maybe I will see if I can't take a few extras to our supplier and see if they can do it.

    As for connectors I will most likely just buy some, never been the best at fixing cable!

    And since they are edison plugs I might just get two, one for each of our above stage electrics and get power adaptors, since they would be used for things like chrsitmas lights.

    Well this will make the dance academys happy next year! Plus we are getting a followspot to boot :D
  7. Dsotm75

    Dsotm75 Member

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    What I have done before to make a dimmer a non-dim outlet is make a jumper that bypasses the powercube/SCR/whatever-name-it-goes-by. The breaker switch on that dimmer module acts as an on/off switch for that specific circuit. This is how I bring clean power to moving lights that are located where it is impossible to run a circuit for it otherwise, such as a truss with a raceway built into it. Also, make sure to label the dimmer that is a non-dim in the dimmer rack!!

    As for what you can power with a dimmer, you can use anything that has a lightbulb or anything simple like what Marshall said. Some things to try to avoid running on a dimmer include motors, flourescent lights, and especially moving lights.
  8. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    A dimmer outputs the same amount of power as a wall outlet, so you're not going to blow the Christmas lights up. I think you're getting confused by the dimmer's rating, i.e. "2400w". This is merely the threshold.
    A stage pin/twistlock/edison are only differentiated by their capacity and layout. Heck, you could convert your entire house to stage pin (2P&G) if you wanted to. It's all the same juice flowing through them.

    Plugging household lights in to dimmers is common practice. They're often called practicals.

    Caveat: Dimmers output 120v, similar to a wall outlet, but the power is not identical. Thus, no connecting motors, moving lights, etc.

    Can a standard dimmer pack be converted over to a relay pack?
    Perhaps. But it must be done by a qualified electronics technician, and ideally the work would be guaranteed, should it ever catch fire. Given your line of questioning and apparent knowledge base, no offense, but you would be much better served to buy real relay modules or just plug moving lights/similar in to a wall outlet. It's not safe, nor easy to do unless you have a deep understanding of how the dimmer works, which really takes years to develop. Since you're probably in a school setting, I would throw that idea right out the window since it's probably technically illegal.

    as stated before, a dimmer "parked" at full, or run up to 100% is not a proper substitute.

    As per wiring, + and - are "interchangeable" but you shouldn't. Black to copper and white to silver. Grounds hook up the same -- green to green. Again, you're not converting the power, just the connector type. The proper cable to use would be 12/3 SOOW.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
  9. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    There's no problem with using 2P&G (aka Stage Pin) connectors with 5-15 (aka Edison) connectors. The connectors don't do anything special, they just provide different forms for the conductive path between an electrical source and an electrical load.

    We, in the entertainment industry, prefer the 2P&G for conventional lighting because almost always our lighting fixtures are connected to dimmers and really only ever need to be. Sometimes a standard wall outlet will do, but for the most part we use dimmable circuits.

    What we don't want is someone who doesn't know our power is dimmable to connect their loads to our receptacles. If someone connects a vacuum or an amplifier to a dimmable circuit, even if the dimmer is set at full, it will likely damage the device.

    In other words, your lights can be plugged into any 120v outlet and they'll work fine if it's a dimmer or if it's a standard outlet, but someone else could damage their equipment by connecting it to a dimmer. Thus, a different connector is used. Just be careful with your adapters when you get them; people who want to plug things in may find them and try plugging their $3,000 guitar amp into your dimmable circuit and watch the circuitry in their amp go up in smoke.

    In regards to intelligent lights and other loads, you'll want constant power -- not a dimmer set at full. Chances are you can find a module for your dimmer rack that will provide this. If you go to your dimmer rack, you'll likely find a bunch of dimmer modules, each module containing two dimmers, which provide the dimming capabilities for two different circuits. If you can afford to give up two dimmers (per module), you can replace modules (as needed) that replace the dimmers with standard circuit breakers. This provides the constant power you want for your non-dimmable gear.

    Once you replace the modules, you can still leave the receptacles as 2P&G and use adapters as necessary to get to 5-15, PowerCon, or any other relevant 120v connectors you may run across.

    On another note, rope lighting is scary. A lot of people use it in ways to do things that they're too cheap to "do right," and end up using the rope lighting irresponsibly and create a fire hazard. Several months ago, there was a school auditorium that caught fire when some rope lighting melted and caught fire, burning up half of the auditorium. There are certainly applicable uses for rope lighting, just do it in a way that doesn't allow it to heat up to destructive temperatures.
  10. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Active Member

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    I would add that you may need a dummy load (otherwise known as a ghost load) depending on your dimmers - a spare unit paired into the dimmer, put somewhere where you won't see it. Otherwise you may find that even at 0% you'll still get some current creeping through the practical, causing it to glow.
  11. Anvilx

    Anvilx Member

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    What would you say is the minimum number of amps for not using a dummy load?
  12. ajb

    ajb Active Member

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    Typical leakage current for thyristors of the size used in most dimmers is about 10-20mA. More than enough to glow LED Christmas lights (5mm LEDs typically have a max If of 25-30mA, so even with a couple strings it's a significant fraction of their normal operating current), for instance, but just about any incandescent load won't even notice it.
  13. CSCTech

    CSCTech Member

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    Les,
    Alrighty,

    Yes I would never attempt to modify a dimmer myself. Like said above I will ask our supplier next time I am there to see if they would do it. However since we have not the money for said intelligent lighting, I wont worry now :p I just wanted to know so if I bring something up I will know what will need to be done to bring power to them.

    And yes, I already assumed a dimmer at 100 would not be a way to get around it as anything could happen causing it to fall from 100.

    And alrighty on the cable, will most likely buy already made ones : )



    MNicolai,

    Alrighty, I will have to browse around for modules made for our rack to do so.

    And yeah, I am sometimes over cautous of thing attached to an electric mounted batten melting/catching fire. And our 4 legs are not spaced so that they can spin 360 degrees without hitting a top frindge or an electric, so I am forever checking that they in the middle.

    The adaptors would be locked up when not in use.
  14. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You don't have to act like the rope lights are going to spontaneously combust; they won't. If they do, you get to sue some no-name company for lots of money.

    What you want to make certain you do is just use them in the way they were intended. Don't pile them into tight coils and turn them on as they will heat up and melt. If tacking them in, do it with appropriate fasteners; don't take a staple gun to the wiring to attach it to the wall as it will short out when turned on.

    Like I said, a lot of people who have problems with rope lights catching fire were trying to do something that they should've done a much better way, but while being forced to spend some extra cash. I don't know exactly how it happened, but rope lighting has turned into duct tape. While there are certainly places were duct tape is completely necessary, some think they can use it to solve every problem plaguing the world today. Next thing you know, your cables are greasy from duct tape residue, someone's minivan is held together with duct tape, and global warming is still melting the icecaps.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
  15. CSCTech

    CSCTech Member

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    Haha, alright. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to get smashed for being un safe :D

    Cant wait to get a few and try them out next season in a show. Might be cool to hang a chandalier or whatnot and actually have it turn on.
  16. DELO72

    DELO72 Active Member

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    Almost all control boards have the ability to set profiles for the dimmers. You can easily make a dimmer a non-dim circuit.

    Set the profile on the dimmer you want to be a non-dim to "Full at 1%". If it is at 0 it will be off. If it is at 1%-100% it will be on at full intensity. You now have a "non-dim" circuit.

    Stagepin to Edison adapters are common and very safe- but just like any plug/wire/system you need to make sure you don't put too much wattage on it and overheat/overload the weakest link (the 15A edison plug). So make sure you stay under 15 amps on it and you will be fine. The danger is if you forget and accidentally plug greater than 1750watts worth of power draw (two FELs, for instance) into it. (not that I've ever done that... *blush*...)
  17. CSCTech

    CSCTech Member

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    You can do that? Wonderful :D

    -Me goes over to our Colortran Status-
    "Can you make profiles?"
    -Colortran- 'Shuts off'

    We are getting an Express this summer, can it have that capability?


    And yeah, unless I use a LOT of christmas lights I think im fine xD
  18. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Very true. Just don't plug a moving light/similar into it and you will be fine :) .
  19. CSCTech

    CSCTech Member

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    Yeah, Should be fine for some electronics but I wouldnt risk a mover on a dimmer even with a non dim profile. When or if we do get movers I will see of gettings at least one non dim module.
    Any ideas on prices? Cant find them. i96 rack.
  20. abbyt

    abbyt Member

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    Dsotm75,

    I'm not trying to call you out directly, but I take great issue with what you are suggesting here. As an ETCP Certified Entertainment Electrician, and a factory authorized field service technician for various manufacturers, I want to emphatically state that an end user should *NEVER* modify a dimmer rack in this manner. The liability and risk of injury or death is too great.

    Modifying the dimmer rack can void the dimmer rack warranty, voids UL (or ETL, or whomever), and likely makes you, your venue, and your employers/supervisors responsible for any and all damage this may cause if something fails. You risk, at the least, damage to the dimmer rack and connected devices, and at most, loss of life.

    I implore you, if you need power that can't come from a dimmer...install a relay module if you're able to / your rack has that option, or have a licensed electrician help you come up with a safe and viable solution.

    Kindest Regards,
    Abby

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